The Bag Rip Off Starts Next Sunday

As of next Sunday every plastic bag or paper bag used by shoppers in Wales to take their goods home will carry a 5p surcharge. I am surprised that all of the major retail chains have agreed to acquiesce. Under European law minimum pricing is illegal and this charge on bags is a clear case of illegal minimum pricing.

Because the Welsh Assembly Government is unable to raise taxes the proceeds from the 5p charge for each bag used in the larger retailers is going to be given to charity. Some supermarkets have named the charities that are going to benefit. Tesco will give to the RSPB, Morrison's to Save the Children, Boots to MacMillan Nurses. Others just note that the money raised will support unspecified charities; Asda will donate to local good causes and the Co-Op to environmental projects.

It would be interesting to know if the money given to the likes of the RSPB, environmental projects and MacMillan Nurses will be for the benefit of those causes' work in Wales alone; or will my bag money be subsidising their work in more affluent parts of the UK?

Will the plastic bags charge help or hinder charities?

When the nice lady from the local church comes round with her Save the Children envelope every year I am quite happy to give a couple of bob to the cause. But if I feel that I have been ripped off by Save the Children every time I shop in Morrisons – she might be sent away with a flea in her ear the next time she comes-a-knocking.

Many local charities raise money at Christmas and other holiday periods by offering to pack customers bags for them in exchange for a small donation; it's a major income source for many youth club, Scouts, Urdd etc groups. I will not be willing to be forced to give money to one charity for the bags and then volunteer to give to another for the packing. This bag charge could be the death knell for many local youth groups.

Isn't the point of charitable giving that it is voluntary? There are some registered charities who's objectives and activities I totally oppose. At the moment I can choose not to support them if I so wish. From next Sunday, if my local supermarket offers its support to one of those charities, I will be obliged under the force of law to donate a sum of money to them, against my wishes, in order to take my shopping home in a biodegradable plastic or paper bag! I suspect that there might be a human rights issue there!

Q Anybody know a no-win-no-fee HR lawyer who might take the issue on?

A Don't be silly Alwyn! The leftists who support Human Rights are the same people who support this enforced giving to anti-Welsh charities like the ROYAL Society for the Protection of Birds and the English National Trust (AKA The Save Snowdon from the Welsh Society)!

This is a Nationalist issue which Plaid should oppose on Nationalist grounds, but which Plaid stupidly supports in order to prove its British Socialist and British Environmental credentials!


  1. waitrose are giving bags for life free this week good idea

  2. Compostable bags are used in a big way down under, our antipodean friends solved the issue without additional taxes.

    We use hessian bags for shopping, thinner cotton if we venture out into Cardiff, my wife carries a folded bag in her handbag, it fits in my pocket, that is no more than a couple of inches square so there is always a bag at hand.

    Good news from Asda, there is a no-bags option with their on-line shopping, so tax as much as they wish, there will be no contributions to other peoples charities from this house.

    Now the expression "anti-Welsh charities" conjures all sorts of images ...

  3. This is probably the most cynical parochial blog I've read in a long time. The purposer of this charge is to reduce the number of plastic bags that go into landfill; that very important point seems to have passed you by. I won't be contributing a penny this way to charities as I will be using my own bags...again one of the purposes of the ban. Look at the bigger picture child abuse is wrong wherever it is, Wales or outside, do I therefore really care that Save the Children charity donation is used in Wales or outside?

  4. P Gwersyllt,

    You are wrong and Alwyn is correct. "Look at the bigger picture child abuse is wrong wherever it is, Wales or outside, do I therefore really care that Save the Children charity donation is used in Wales or outside?" What a foolish thing for a patriot to say. Is donating to a charity in England equally valid as donating to one in Wales? Don't get all emotional and simply talk of Save the Children. Pathetic.

  5. Plaid should oppose a plastic bags levy on nationalist grounds? Grow up! I suppose the Irish Republican politicians who support a bag levy in Ireland are also guilty of "British socialism"? This is why the tendency of right-leaning to nats to obsess over left/right approaches to nationalism is a dead end. Maybe the former British colonies of Bangladesh and Singapore, who have banned plastic bags outright, are also serving their former colonial masters.

  6. Ironic that Tesco's are going to give to the RSPB, the site that was used in carmarthen for the tesco had a 500yr old Oak tree felled which had ecological value (I counted the tree rings from the stump- bordered where the allotment is)

  7. Save the Children, Action for Children, NSPCC and Barnadoes operate in Wales and the rest of the UK, and they are all active in Wrecsam.

  8. Mam, the bags for life are not a good idea – unlike single use bags they are not bio-degradable. At the moment these bags can be exchanged for a free replacement bag when they ware out, the shops then dispose of the old bags responsibly, as of next Sunday the free exchange will become illegal so these bags are likely to end up in landfil.

    John, I agree with your comment about compostable bags, unfortunately compostable bags will be charged for in Wales making their use less appealing in Wales after next Sunday.

    Plaid Gwersyll, perhaps you should have read what I said before displaying your knee jerk rage towards anybody who disagrees with a Plaid policy. If you had read my comments you would have noted that I give regularly to the international work of Save the Children. As I am being forced by law to contribute to some UK charities, such as the RSPB asking about where in the UK my contribution will be spent is perfectly logical and not parochial at all. As anon 10:16 points out why should I be forced to give towards the RSPB's work in England whilst the bird sanctuary on my doorstep is in need of funds?

    Annon, the bag levy in Ireland is a national tax the bag levy in Wales is not – that is the nationalist difference. In Bangladesh they encourage the use of paper bags rather than plastic bags – in Wales we will be charged for both. Asking us to use non bio-degradable bags, some of which are made from material produced in land gained by clearing rain forests is not particularly environmentally friendly. This policy is policy that gives the appearance of ticking environmental boxes, rather than one that benefits the environment. Ticking boxes in order to appear correct rather than doing what is best for the Welsh and World environment is not what I would expect from a national party.

    You raise an interesting point Anon 16:09. One of the reasons that supermarkets give to charity is in order to make them look good, despite the fact that some of their activities are far from acceptable. This bag levy means that we are being forced to contribute towards this sort of cover up.

  9. Plaid Gwersyllt said... Save the Children, Action for Children, NSPCC and Barnadoes operate in Wales and the rest of the UK, and they are all active in Wrecsam

    If these charities are active in Wrecsam then there is an identifiable need for the type of work that they do in the Wrecsam area, why do you think that it's parochial to ask that these needs are met out of the bag levy imposed on the shoppers of Wrecsam?

  10. So when climate change reaches crisis level and sea level rises are you suggesting that there will be differentials around the coast of Wales because that is how the last paragraph reads.

  11. Arfon I haven't got a clue what you are on about. Did you actually read the post? Or have you just made a lazy prejudicial assumption, that because I don't agree with Plaid's way of dealing with a problem that I don't believe that there is a problem that needs dealing with?

    The post is about my concerns that the Assembly's policy of attempting to tackle the waste problem by forcing us to give to charity will have on voluntary charitable giving – it isn't about the "climate change denial" that you seem to be arguing against in your comments.

    And if you think that encouraging us to use "bags for life" and "green bags" that will take hundreds of years to break down and that are sourced from finite resources and land cleared by deforestation is better for the environment than single use bags made from bio-degradable polymers sourced from vegetable by-products, then you are deluded.

  12. Single use carrier bags made out of cow or sheep faeces could create a Welsh industry – we have plenty of animal poo in our hills! But there is no point in developing such an industry in Wales, because such environmentally friendly bags would be levied under the current Assembly rules!


  13. Its a flippin damn nuisance for a shopaholic like me. I guess there will be lots more online shopping going on.